Last August, Ross Bateman, the brother of Robert Bateman, approached Minden Hills manager of cultural services, Shannon Kelly, with an “exciting” idea. The Bateman family wanted to do an exhibit at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery in Minden this summer.

“It would be based on their time at the family cottages in Haliburton County over several decades,” Kelly told a council meeting June 8.

The plan was for original paintings, and limited-edition prints, created by Robert Bateman, his brothers, Ross and Jack, Robert’s son, Alan, and Ross’s son, Brad, as well as photography by Robert’s wife, Birgit Freybe Bateman.

After that initial chat, Kelly continued to talk to Robert and Birgit, as well as Robert’s assistant, Kate Brotchie, in the early fall of 2022, and now – an exhibit date of July 6 to Sept. 2 is set.

The title of the exhibit is ‘Bateman Family: A Sense of Place.’

In outlining the details, Kelly said it would feature 46 pieces that are part of Robert’s personal collection, including 21 originals and 25 prints. Four originals from the collection of Ross will also be included.

Approximately 12 photographs of Birgit will be curated; three original pieces from Ross; one original piece from Jack; four original pieces and four reproductions from Alan; and eight original pieces by Brad.

The Bateman family cherish the memories of their summer holidays spent at the family cottages in Haliburton County. Their experiences over several decades are captured in this personal family exhibit,” Kelly said.

She added an exhibit catalogue is being designed by Andrea Hilo, and printed by Parker Pad & Printing. “The catalogue will include images of all artwork included in the exhibit, as well as personal notes from the artists, on selected pieces,” she said.

The catalogue will also include an original, personal, essay titled The Haliburton Paintings, written by Ross for the exhibit. The catalogues will be sold in the gallery throughout the exhibition, with proceeds going to the cultural centre.

Kelly said all art will be on site at the cultural centre the week of June 19. The exhibit will be hung the week of July 3 by staff and volunteers, with creative input from the Bateman family.

The Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation will be holding a members-only preview July 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. “There will be some members of the Bateman family present,” Kelly said.

The public opening reception will be held July 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. “All contributing artists have confirmed they will be present at the reception,” Kelly said. An artist talk has been scheduled form 1:30 p.m.

Due to the limited seating in the Welch Room, pre-registration is required for the talk. General viewing of the exhibit is open to all at the reception. Alcoholic beverages will be served at the reception on July 8. A Special Occasion Permit (SOP) has been applied for, and a bartender with Smart Serve has been booked for the event. Non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks will also be served.

Council designated the July opening an event of municipal significance during a recent meeting.

A selection of prints and books selected by the artists will be available for sale in the gallery gift shop. As per the exhibit contract, the gallery will receive 25 per cent of the proceeds from the sales.

In addition, the original painting, Castor Canadensis, will be part of the exhibit, and is the one original painting that will be available for sale. The sale price is $50,000 U.S., or approximately $68,000 CDN. As per the exhibit contract, the gallery will receive 25 per cent of the proceeds from the sale, Kelly said.

“This unique painting was inspired when Robert was driving home from his cottage in Haliburton and spotted a beaver on the side of the road. Growing up, he spent many summers at the cottage waiting patiently at the water’s edge, with mosquitoes buzzing around his head, hoping to catch a glimpse of the animal emerging from the water. During this chance encounter he pulled over quickly to the roadside and snapped a few photographs. The beaver’s wet, slicked back fur created a powerful image reminiscent of a bronze sculpture, which Robert enjoyed recreating in his studio.”